It’s the 40th anniversary of Comm Week at Cal State Fullerton, and it’s time to address the elephant in the room that many journalism majors may choose to blissfully ignore — whether a future in journalism, particularly print journalism, is even possible.
While this unfortunate hypothetical sadly isn’t what aspiring journalists want to hear, the challenges of print journalism must be well-understood and realized. Journalism is neither something that’s easily achieved nor be the dream-like easy job that many hoped, but just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean doing it is an impossible feat.
While ironic, it’s not surprising to find an online article announcing the death of print journalism. Their reports seem almost teasing, as if the writers are saying “Hey, look at these suckers.”
If it’s not written in an article, then experienced journalists will give commentary about their fear of the future. But despite their roughly 20 years of experience, their worry comes across as mildly annoying because they can only reflect and not work through their current concerns.
However, the concerns regarding a lack of public trust fair a little better than the death of print journalism.
Between 2016 and 2018 the public’s trust in the media as a reliably confident information has gone up by 7 percent, according to a Gallup survey. However, the actual percentage — 27 percent — isn’t as high as one would hope.
Even with these disheartening percentages and knowledge confirming the absolute worst, young journalists still pursue these careers.
Despite all the backlash and all the hate, nothing can replace the euphoric rush of knowing information the public needs and reporting to confirm it as the truth.
There isn’t any other form of writing that’s as gratifying or stress inducing as creating constant content and seeing the occasional gem truly get the attention it deserves.
At this point, print journalism is just memorabilia for newspaper enthusiasts, but its demise doesn’t mean that journalists should let go of their most essential skill, strong writing.
Sure, journalism has evolved to demand more time and involvement, and the skills required for print journalism seem outdated, but they can’t be abandoned just because the future of print lies on the internet.
Journalism will always rely on the ability to tell a story well, no matter what the medium.
While there isn’t an easy solution to restoring faith in the media, it doesn’t mean those who are truly passionate about print will drop everything and get a biology degree instead; it still won’t be any less of a challenge.
Insistence in pursuing a degree in print journalism won’t make sense to everyone, but to call it a bleak and terrible future is undermining the strength and perseverance of journalists who are itching to find stories and content that could change the perspectives (or even lives) of millions.
As a final note, it seems only right to address the all too stubborn and adamant journalists who sure that print is going the way of the dodo.
A career in journalism won’t be easy, and it will definitely demand more than the average person can handle, but the only way to move forward is to be as driven and undeterred as possible.
An opportunity in journalism isn’t just given, it’s earned, and the only way to start is to constantly produce content. Not monthly, not only on the sparse free moment but taking the time to write something good at any spare moment of the day.
In order for journalists to make it anywhere, college students have to give a damn about what they write. No matter what section people write for in a newspaper — politics, arts, entertainment, opinion — people can’t simply expect to write a little story with the assumption that others will read it. Analysis and explaining something’s significance matter too.
So while listening to speakers during Comm Week, it’s imperative to decide if a career in journalism specifically print — is truly the right fit. Not whether journalism will exist or not.